There was so much warranting gratitude last week, so I’ll just get right to it!
1/20: Our very first family bowling night… What a grand time! We learned that two hours is definitely too long for the littles, but beautiful quality time was had and a new activity was discovered. Priceless memories!
1/21: Momma got a NEW CAMERA!!! It’s a definite upgrade. I have lots to learn, but I’m so excited about the ways my photography will improve and expand!! AND… it’s used, but in great condition, so I got a FANTASTIC deal!!! HUZZAH!!!!
1/22: I am so thankful to see kids we loved with our whole lives turn out to be these AMAZING grownups … & our friends. We can’t claim anything but God allowing us to watch Him work. It’s overwhelming & humbling & awesome & inspiring.
1/23: I have some incredible friends who obey God! I am always amazed when a friend shoots a message saying “I’m praying for xyz for you”; when it was exactly what I was doing/needing today; not thinking I needed prayer in this. God is so much better than I think or feel or imagine He is.
1/24: I wasn’t feeling well, and Mr. Old School really stepped up and handled dinner and bedtime. He’s such a good hubs & daddy. ❤
1/25: A quiet day at home REALLY rocks some times. Just what the doc ordered.
1 One day, Samuel told Saul:The Lord told me to choose you to be king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord: 2 “When the Israelites were on their way out of Egypt, the nation of Amalek attacked them. I am theLord All-Powerful, and now I am going to make Amalek pay!3 “Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”4 Saul sent messengers who told every town and village to send men to join the army at Telaim. There were 210,000 troops in all, and 10,000 of these were from Judah. Saul organized them, 5 then led them to a valley near one of the towns in Amalek, where they got ready to make a surprise attack. 6 Some Kenites lived nearby, and Saul told them, “Your people were kind to our nation when we left Egypt, and I don’t want you to get killed when I wipe out the Amalekites. So stay away from them.”The Kenites left, 7 and Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah to Shur, which is just east of Egypt. 8 Every Amalekite was killed except King Agag. 9 Saul and his army let Agag live, and they also spared the best sheep and cattle. They didn’t want to destroy anything of value, so they only killed the animals that were worthless or weak.10 The Lord told Samuel, 11 “Saul has stopped obeying me, and I’m sorry that I made him king.”Samuel was angry, and he cried out in prayer to the Lord all night. 12 Early the next morning he went to talk with Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to Carmel, where he had a monument built so everyone would remember his victory. Then he left for Gilgal.”13 Samuel finally caught up with Saul, and Saul told him, “I hope the Lord will bless you! I have done what the Lord told me.”14 “Then why,” Samuel asked, “do I hear sheep and cattle?”15 “The army took them from the Amalekites,” Saul explained. “They kept the best sheep and cattle, so they could sacrifice them to the Lord your God. But we destroyed everything else.”16 “Stop!” Samuel said. “Let me tell you what the Lord told me last night.”“All right,” Saul answered.17 Samuel continued, “You may not think you’re very important, but the Lord chose you to be king, and you are in charge of the tribes of Israel. 18 When the Lord sent you on this mission, he told you to wipe out those worthless Amalekites. 19 Why didn’t you listen to the Lord? Why did you keep the animals and make him angry?”20 “But I did listen to the Lord!” Saul answered. “He sent me on a mission, and I went. I captured King Agag and destroyed his nation. 21 All the animals were going to be destroyed anyway. That’s why the army brought the best sheep and cattle to Gilgal as sacrifices to the Lord your God.”22 “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23 Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you, so God has decided that you can no longer be king.”24 “I have sinned,” Saul admitted. “I disobeyed both you and the Lord. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead. 25 Please forgive me and come back with me so I can worship the Lord.”26 “No!” Samuel replied, “You disobeyed the Lord, and I won’t go back with you. Now the Lord has said that you can’t be king of Israel any longer.”27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the edge of Samuel’s robe. It tore! 28Samuel said, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he will give it to someone who is better than you. 29 Besides, the eternal God of Israel isn’t a human being. He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind.”1 Samuel 15:1-29 (contemporary english version)
The story’s pretty easy to understand.
What I find the most intriguing and applicable to everyone in the exchange between Saul & Samuel is how quickly Saul goes from, “looky what I did”, like this proud toddler … to “*your* (not my) God” told me to do this … to “it was their idea”.
Samuel goes on to cut off the head of this king and goes off to find David who, as Scripture tells us, will be “a man after God’s own heart”.
Now here’s how I see this little story applying in my own life:
See, there have been times in my life when I’ve chosen to “serve” or do something really great … only it wasn’t what God was telling me to do. Usually, I’ve reasoned that, “after all, I’m serving the church!” Or “I’ve seen a need so I’m meeting a need.” But I never actually took the time to pray about it OR I knew it wasn’t my place or task to take, but I did it out of obligation, or thrill to be asked/given responsibility, or just because there was no one else to fill that gap… Any of that sound familiar to you?
And there are the instances when I have had the opportunity to do what God created me to do … only it wasn’t the right time/place/circumstances. Maybe I even prayed about it and heard a no or nothing at all, but I was like, “but this is my destiny here, so I’m doing it.” How many biblical examples do we have of this; what I’m calling a “manufactured destiny”?
Adam & Eve eating the fruit is our first example of this … they flat out did the opposite of God’s instructions (just like our pal Saul) and they lost eternal life in the physical … for all of us … and sin entered our world.
Sarah gave her servant girl to Abraham to “manufacture” her promise and Ishmael was the result … and Israel still faces a violent threat to this day.
Ananias and Sapphira gave a portion of money (a good thing) from the profits of a sale, but lied about how much it actually was so they could keep some for their own personal use (the personal use isn’t bad, but the lying is not such a good thing) and they were struck dead on the spot. (YIKES!)
We see so many examples of this sort of thing and I could go on and on.
to obey is better than sacrificing
I think my takeaway in all this is that there are times in all of our lives, we choose something good instead of God’s best.
I’m really good at looking at my personal sacrifice and glorifying it; like, “Look, God! Look how much great stuff I’ve done for You! Be proud. Be very proud!!”
Other times, I’m like, “look at aaaaaaaaall I’m suffering for You, God!”
And He’s all, “Do you remember that one little task over there I asked you to accomplish? Still waiting…”
Without a word of all the sacrifice I’ve made and hardship I’ve faced or great job I’ve done for HIM?! So I put it to Him.
And He says, “But if you’d done what I’d asked, you wouldn’t have had to face that hardship or sacrifice or do all that proving yourself business … remember those in Revelation; those who will do great works in my name, and to whom I’ll say, ‘Depart from Me, for I never knew you.'”
jonah and the whale
So I’ve been dwelling on all this all week when Stinker Bell comes home from pre-school with her “Jonah and the whale” artwork.
And I’m, once again reminded that me and my opinions and my righteous indignation and my pity parties and what looks right to me and who I think should or shouldn’t be saved by grace … None of that means jack. How many times have I allowed my opinions to form how I choose to do (or not do, as it were) God’s bidding?
And then a sweet friend comes over for cappuccino that very afternoon and we talk about this exact thing … and then she tweets the details of a talk at her church that night. It’s the same thing!
OK. I’m hearing You, God. Loud and clear, to be sure!!
So what do I do next?
Honestly, I have no clue.
So I seek Him even more.
And I’ll continue to do my best to not manufacture my own destiny. That’s really hard for this girl right here! Boy, is it! But I’m determined to see His best in my life.
This song has been my heartbeat for quite a few years now.
More and more, I’m learning what these words look like in my life according to the Word.